Senate move to rebuke Bush falls four votes short

By DAVID ESPO

The Senate gridlocked on the Iraq war in a sharply worded showdown on Saturday as Republicans foiled a Democratic attempt to rebuke President Bush over his deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops.

The vote was 56-34. That was four short of the 60 needed to advance the measure, which is identical to a nonbinding resolution that Democrats pushed through the House on Friday.

“The Senate, on behalf of the American people, must make it clear to the commander in chief that he no longer has a rubber stamp in Iraq,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in the final moments before the vote.

Republicans blasted him and the Democratic leadership for refusing to allow a vote on an alternative that ruled out any reduction in money for troops in the field.

“A vote in support of the troops that is silent on the question of funds is an attempt to have it both ways,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the GOP leader. “So we are asking for an honest and open debate.”

The vote marked the second time this winter that Senate Republicans have blocked action on nonbinding measures critical of the president’s war policies. This time, however, there were signs of restlessness within the GOP.

Seven Republicans broke with their leadership, compared with only two on the previous test vote.

Also this time, the maneuvering concerned a nonbinding measure that disapproved of Bush’s decision to deploy the additional troops and pledged to support and protect the troops.

The vote in the House on Friday was 246-182, with 17 Republicans breaking ranks to support the measure and two Democrats voting in opposition.

Saturday’s debate and vote occurred in an intensely political environment, both in and out of the Capitol. The unusual weekend session sent presidential contenders in both parties scrambling to make the vote.

One of them, Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, squeezed in a morning appearance in New Hampshire, where she told one audience, “We have to end this war and we can’t do it without Republican votes.”

Polls show strong public opposition to the war, which as killed more than 3,100 U.S. troops. Democrats seemed eager to force Republicans into votes that might prove politically troublesome.

“They are torn between their president’s policy and the wishes of the constituents, but vote they must,” said Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, head of the Senate Democrats’ campaign committee.

Democrats in both the House and Senate have said the nonbinding measures would be only the first attempt to force a shift in Bush’s war policies.

In the Senate, Reid has told lawmakers he will turn anti-terrorism legislation into a forum for debate over the war. He has met privately in recent days with fellow Democrats as the leadership plans its next move.

In the House, Democrats have said they will attempt to place restrictions on Bush’s request for an additional $93 billion for the military in an attempt to make it impossible for him to deploy all 21,500 additional troops.

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., has described a series of provisions that would require the Pentagon to meet certain standards for training and equipping the troops, and for making sure they have enough time at home between deployments.

Murtha and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., describe these provisions as designed to protect the troops.

Republicans argue the effect would be to deny troops needed reinforcements and are expected to try to block the restrictions.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press

18 Responses to "Senate move to rebuke Bush falls four votes short"

  1. gene  February 18, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Above the south point says “I doesn’t matter anymore. Absolute stupidity has reached its terminal state.” I TOTALLY AGREE. Fokes, we are now on life support. Who wants to pull the plugg?

  2. Helen Rainier  February 18, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    In response to Peter Chewning — Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) is the person who is still in the hospital. McCain blew off the vote in favor of going on the campaign trail. I haven’t heard any explanations for the absences of the others — but I think the rest were republic senators.

  3. Judy  February 18, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Any Senator who would voted against supporting this measure to rebuke the President (Dictator) though publicly acknowleding they disagree with his policy, should never be trusted.

    My mind cannot accept any reason for acting in such a manner. Though I never have blamed any of the Congressmen who voted to supported the President (Dictator)for going into this war (because they were lied to) I do hold all who voted against this nonbinding measure..as responsible for it continuing to be allowed without rebuke.

    There is no political party more important than the people its supposed to represent yet this is a perfect example of how the peoples wishes have once again been ignored in lieu of party politics!

  4. Wendell Boyd  February 18, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    The US Senate should tell President Bush

    that they support out troops by bringing them home now!

  5. JimZ  February 18, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    There’s no face like of the neocon Christo-fascist movement like Sen. Mitch McConnell, the GOP minority leader (OK- Tom DeLay too). That guy makes me want to puke every time I see him. HE SHILLS FOR BU$H 100% OF THE TIME!

    KENTUCKY, DO YOUR DUTY AND VOTE THIS GUY OUT OF OFFICE! Thanks…

  6. JimZ  February 19, 2007 at 12:00 am

    Kent, that is pretty dang scary. So either Bu$h appoints himself president for life, or the GOP will try to limit the Executive Branch power before the next election? Or worse…

  7. Kent Shaw  February 18, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    .

    JimZ wrote: “But then we don’t want the Democrats to be completely in control. Who the heck trusts them?”

    .

    Can you imagine Hillary Clinton wielding the power that Bush has usurped for the presidency? SCARY. DAMN SCARY.

    .

  8. Ray  February 19, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    I would say that all those who support Bushco are being blackmailed. It is an old trick of the neocon perverts to gain absolute control over the house and senate. Wine and dine then afterwards photos of thier guests caught with whores or young boys in lewd activities will get the support every time. I would bet that the higher percentage of Bush supporters are in fear of exposure. The Hill has been the center of scandles many times over the years. What is to make anyone think that they have changed any of the sick behavior that seems to the way of life in our nations capitol. IMHO

  9. Kent Shaw  February 19, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    .

    Ray, that is all it CAN be. Anyone with an ounce of brains realizes that invading Iraq was monstrously WRONG from day one. No sane individual would wish these horrors upon any other country. They are either a mostly evil sociopathic bunch (not outside the realm of possibility) or they are being blackmailed by someone — the neocons, AIPAC, Israel, CIA, someone is blackmailing these people.

    .

  10. The South Point  February 18, 2007 at 5:49 am

    It doesn’t matter anymore. Absolute stupidity has reached its terminal state.

    http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn11180-atom-smasher-may-give-birth-to-black-saturns.html

    This is so completely f*cked up, I just don’t even have the words to describe it anymore.

    Ladies, protect your children. Enough with the idiotic crap already. Just do it, please.

  11. Route66  February 17, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Parliamentary nonsense. Reid is right to say that anyone who voted against the motion to even allow debate in fact voted to support the Bush policy and the war as it continunes. Voters don’t care about parliamentary explanations (e.g., Kerry’s first I voted for but then I voted against mumbo jumbo). Whoever runs against any of these incumbents in 2008 should make it clear the incumbents voted to continue the war and Bush’s failed policies. Because it look like our troops still will be dying and bleeding there through January 20, 2008 — unless Bush has “redeployed” them to invade Iran before then.

    Makes me wish we had the power of recall as most states do for elected officials.

  12. SEAL  February 17, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    I hope someone more knowlegeable than me can explain how the Bushit administration has held so many republican senators and house reps in line to support them. Aside from the normal condition that there will always be a certain number who will actually agree with their policy, it makes absolutely no sense to me that the rest would continue to support what they know is wrong. Whether congress should support Bush’s policy in Iraq is not debatable. It has been a failure. That is a fact. Why would anyone elected to serve the nation continue to support failed policy?

    During the past year the Bush cabal has been publically exposed as liars, thieves, and immoral despots that have deliberately conspired to coverup their criminal and deviant behavior. They have been exposed for crimes against the Contitution and for violating their oath to the nation. Why would anyone elected to serve the nation continue to support them?

    Supporting Bush at this point is political suicide for most of them. There is no question that the next two years are going to be a downward spiral for Bush et. al. The only question is the form it will take and who they will take with them. I find it impossible to believe that the majority of the faithful in congress do not know this. I, also, find it impossible to believe that a good number of them do not understand the danger Bushco poses to the nation and the world. So, why in the hell do they continue to enjoy the support of so many?

    If we knew the answer to that, perhaps we would know how to remove the support.

  13. SEAL  February 18, 2007 at 4:29 am

    Previously I forgot to say that I couldn’t believe all of the repugnant senators actually thought they were going to be re elected Some will, of course, because of the evangelical controlled state they come from but more than half face a more normal voting population.

    It’s hard to believe these people would be willing to give up their seats of power no matter how much they will profit by granting their MIC benefactors two more years. I suspect they must believe that the financial power behind them will be able to bring them back to the senate by hook or by crook. I could certainly understand why they might think that considering the shennanigans in the last two elections. But still, it is one hell of a gamble.

    I admit a certain lack of real understanding about politics due to spending most of my adult life in the military regardless of the interactions I had with “unusual” government types. However, I do understand the seduction of immense power. As a US Senator, losing one power base should only make room for another. It’s very difficult for me to visualize anyone giving that up. Why not take the safer path?Obviously, there is something I don’t know. Perhaps the threat of exposure?

  14. Carl Nemo  February 18, 2007 at 12:51 am

    SEAL…In response to your question concerning this diehard support; it’s my suspicion that many if not most have government contract pressure from within their state along with influence from many shadowy lobbyists. In other words they are beholding to their M.I. Industrial constituents along with many minor contractors who might simply be making canteens, rations, etc. There’s also the influence of the oil patch along with its’ derivative products industries that are enjoying a boost to the bottom line due to the high price of oil. Our leadership has become so corrupt that unequivocally $$ are the driving force behind their decisions. *********

    “They are torn between their president’s policy and the wishes of the constituents, but vote they must,” said Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, head of the Senate Democrats’ campaign committee.

    *********

    Since republicans fail to listen to their constituents and follow “their” president’s policy then it means they have a partisan agenda, plain and simple. Are there any questions?! After two more years of the Bushistas feeding American lives to the sacrificial flames, along with ripping off the American taxpayer, then maybe they’l raise enough ire in the electorate that they can be flushed permanently and totally from the halls of Congress til the 12th of never. They are “traitors” to the Republic and most importantly to “we the people”…! I’ll supply a link so folks can raise hell this coming week with their duly elected representatives.

    http://www.conservativeusa.org/megalink.htm

    When the founding fathers were planning how our government would be formed; Franklin warned against the hazards of a Senate and wanted it kept simply to House representation. He foresaw the possibility of the corrupting influence of special interests even in the early days of our Republic. The Senate has become a corrupt, good ol’ boys club that is easily controlled and bought-off by the shadowy oligarchs that control world corporations. Even foreign governments such as Israel et. al. have a mighty grip on our leadership. There’s no end to the byzantine connections that link these 100 duly elected “disappointments” to the corporate world. Hopefully the House will show us they have “the right stuff”, if not, then 2008 needs to be an excercise in flushing them all!

  15. Kent Shaw  February 18, 2007 at 1:31 am

    .

    IMPEACH CHENEY, BUSH, GONZALEZ, RICE NOW

    .

    CUT OFF ALL WAR FUNDING NOW

    .

  16. JimZ  February 18, 2007 at 2:58 am

    The Republican Party has never been the same since the Gingrich Poisoning of the early 1990′s. I bailed on them, then. It seemed they used to have some REAL conservatives back then; now they’re these hybrid neo-con types and Christo-fascists (fascocrits?).

    It seems they just don’t get the message from the majority of the voters. They were voted back in too many times, and think we are all idiots for doing so. Of course, we ARE idiots because they hide behind a wall of “laws” and lawmen, and keep us in the dark.

    Until the voters slaughter the Republican Party in the next election, they won’t do us any favors. But then we don’t want the Democrats to be completely in control. Who the heck trusts them? 2008 is THE election year to bring in 3rd party candidates at all levels.

  17. Wayne K Dolik  February 18, 2007 at 9:12 am

    SEAL:

    Thank you for your eloquent input. It truly was great to read it.

  18. Peter Chewning  February 18, 2007 at 10:15 am

    By my count 56 + 34 = 90. WHERE ARE THE OTHER 10 Senators. I know one is still in the hospital. Did 9 Senators not Vote, not show up? WHAT?

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